2012 ELMS Entry List: Protos in force

After the FIA World Endurance Championship’s presentation of its 2012 season, the European Le Mans Series announces its entry list.

For its first season, the European Le Mans Series, essential endurance racing Championship and main channel of the new WEC, presents a promising five category grid. The highest participation will be in the prototype category with a total of twenty entries.

Stars of the European Le Mans Series, this year, the LMP2s will dominate the track. 13 prototypes, 12 teams representing 7 nationalities, 5 chassis manufacturers and 2 engine manufacturers will be in the running for the first European Le Mans Series title. And if all the drivers have not yet been announced, those already confirmed show the quality and high level of the 2012 grid.

Among the awaited competitors: Greaves Motorsport, 24 Hours of Le Mans and Le Mans series LMP2 winner in 2011 joined by the TDS Racing, Boutsen Ginion Racing and Race Performance teams, all regularly on the podium last season. OAK Racing, with two Morgan?Judds, will also be a team to be reckoned with. Just like the young Sébastien Loeb Racing structure entering an Oreca?Nissan in LMP2 and a Formula Le Mans in LMPC.

In the LMPC category, whose tests programmed at the Paul Ricard circuit were cancelled because of snow, the number of entries will be confirmed after the upcoming sessions on 23 and 24 February. Between six and eight Formula Le Mans are already confirmed for the whole season.

The GT grid should boast some ten cars. In GTE Pro, two “factory” cars: a Porsche 911 RSR with Prospeed Competition and an Evora lined up by the Lotus team. As of today, the new GTC category only has one full season entry. It will be joined by other GTC contestants on a race by race basis.

Finally, thanks to technical regulations shared between the European Le Mans Series and the WEC, certain world championship competitors will be able to consider the possibility of participating in ELMS rounds and inversely.

In total, thirty five cars are expected in the different 2012 European Le Mans Series races.

17 Comments on 2012 ELMS Entry List: Protos in force

  1. That’s a very suprising list, I at least was expecting the majority of the field to be GT’s with a sprinkling of prototypes.

    13 P2’s in particular is a big indicator of the way ACO series are going*, it looks like GTE is becoming like GT1 but hopefully it’s more sustainable thanks to the availability of customer cars from Porsche, Ferrari and next year Mclaren. GTC is dissapointing but I guess they’ll gain a few race by race entries due to the number of such cars around, and it may come into it’s own 12 months from now.

    *I wonder if the ALMS will see a signigicant increase in prototype entries in the near future, I know the series said they expect 10-12 LMPC’s, but it’s P1’s and P2’s we want to see. The Starworks boss says a P2 package (spares and all) is cheaper than a DP and they could expand into the ALMS alongside the WEC program.

  2. Prototypes in ALMS should be expanding this year:

    Dyson – Lola-Mazda Coupe x2
    Muscle Milk Pickett Racing – HPD ARX-03a x1
    Autocon – Lola-Aston Martin? x1 (ex-Muscle Milk, only a rumour currently)

    Level 5 Motorsports – HPD ARX-03b x2
    Conquest Racing – Morgan (Oak)-Judd x1 (Probable change to Nissan engine post-Sebring)
    Black Swan Racing – Lola-Honda Coupe x1 (ex-Level 5 car)
    Dempsey Racing – Lola-Mazda Coupe? x1 (From second half of the season)
    Newman/Haas are another possibility.

    Despite a shaky start, it’s hard to deny that the cost capped LMP2 regulations have been a success!

  3. Yeah, I originally thought the regulation changes were a bad thing, for both LMP1 and 2, but as we can see, it was a good move, especially in LMP2. If someone told you that LMP2 would be the most subscribed class in Le Mans racing early last year, you wouldn’t have believed them.

  4. Had the ALMS had LMP2 as their top class (leaving the P1’s to the World series events) there is little doubt in my mind that there would be more LMP2 cars in the American championship. Pickett would likely have bought one and Dyson might have done the same.

    If it cost no more than a DP to run one-and you could win races overall-they might have even snagged a few G/A teams.

    But Atherton knows better than anyone else how to run a sport scar series.

  5. The main thing in favour of LMP2 is the opportunity to do prototype racing in 3 international series (WEC, ELMS, ALMS) with a reasonable budget over several years (I hope these regulations will be stable, so that the teams don’t have to buy new cars and/or engines every year). ELMS has a special benefit, as the LMP2 cars are running for overall wins, and ELMS has attractive circuits which are challenging for the drivers. Good perspecitives for the manufacturers Lola and ORECA.
    A surprise for me is that OAK is running not only in WEC, but also in ELMS. Jacques Nicolet must have found customers who are interested in participating in ELMS, or maybe this is part of the Morgan deal.

  6. terrific, over 60 cars expected for 60th.sebring 12 and 200 cars for 35th. kendall oil historics [svra] march 2-17,2012.wow! a mogran team,terrific.

  7. But then they would loose the possibility of attracting factory teams in the future.

    Remember Porsche in 2014. They don’t want to miss out, so planning starts now.

  8. You can only think the ALMS are sticking with P1 because they hope (or have been given assurances) a P1 factory such as Porsche will enter the series. With the cost-capped nature of P2 teams can plan their budget for the next two or three seasons, stability is what privateers need, it’s been the major advantage GA has had over the ALMS, we know P1 is the domain of manufactuers and poweful privateers, but GTE is going that way too. P2 seems to have hit a sweet spot for many teams, the hope now is it draws in new teams, pulls teams from LMPC/GTC, and gives the better funded teams a taste of prototype racing which encourages them to step upto P1.

  9. I also think the main reason for ALMS to stick to LMP1 is the announced return of Porsche in 2014. Porsche will only run a works team in WEC, but will also offer their new LMP1 to customer teams, similar to the years when Penske was running the RS Spyder in ALMS. One possibility is Flying Lizards stepping up from GT to LMP1 with the new Porsche.

  10. I would only call LMP2 success if you believe having penalize the HPD engine too much and allowed a reconfigured LMP1 car to win the Championship last year.

    What has happen is everybody has jumped on Nissan power, so you effectively have a one engine series.

    If ALMS went to LMP2 I am positive it would have been more LMP2’s as well.

    As for ELMS being more GT’s, not that certain and here’s why.

    In Europe you have many more series to run your car. Buying a GT3 car allows you to run in at least three series, not including regional series and N24. Meaning budgets are easier to source.

    ELMS with basically ALMS/WEC spec cars and only International GT Open being the only series where you can run GT2/GTE car.

    With no TV deal announced (that I know of) I can understand how GT entries are low in ELMS. Prospeed is in European GT3 as well.

  11. @JAG. Mc Laren next year?? Not heared of it. Whishfull thinking?? ( comparison : +15 manufacturers, who’ve been building GT3’s, GTE : 5 to 6 …. ).

    @Anthony. TV deal = Motors TV and locals. Concerning GT’s, you’re 90% right, bur three series??? I’ve been counting and found… 13 series in Europe alone.. + plus also some series across the world…

    @Everybody. Hey, this was about ELMS, not ALMS…

  12. just realized this: there is no Farnbacher-Hankook car in any Le Mans style competition this year?!?!? did anyone see this coming?

  13. @HD, Mclaren stated they want to go up against Ferrari, the GT3 car has been designed from the outset to be the basis for a GTE.

    I’ve never put much stock in the number of homologated GT3 cars, a great many no longer compete at the highest level, in effect half a dozen manufactuers supply 90% of the field.

    @Anthoney, it turned out the HPD engine was underdeveloped, with a slight restrictor break and more development it’s proven to be on the pace. Judd, HPD and Nissan power the field, there’s talk of Mazda in 2013 but I’d like to see more incentive to run GTE engines.

  14. This article is about the ELMS, but unless you go to the races it has been hard to catch any full coverage of their races. Sure last year Audi TV that covered the ILMC rounds and the ACO website coveored some of the rounds as well. But know one knew about those sites.

    Mean while even with the loss of live broadcasting the ALMS is still more accessible than the ELMS.

    Not to mention that the ALMS is well ahead in adopting new regulations, has more factory teams, bigger market.

    The WEC is also more likely to cannibalize the ELMS before affecting the ALMS

  15. Now they can do their own thing you’ll probably see the ELMS turn up on Motors TV.

    The ELMS is basically a feeder for the WEC but thanks to it’s schedule it allows teams to compete in both, it also appears affordable for smaller teams.

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